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Supreme

"A pure-bred racing machine. Professional in every way."
~~ 1981 Sales Catalog ~~


1983 Lotus Supreme in VioletThe SUPREME is a fitting name for a Lotus bicycle of this quality, it was the top-of-the-line conventional frame racing bicycle in the early 1980's Lotus fleet, sharing the spotlight with the Super Pro Aero.

The early Supreme models were constructed from Tange Champion
 tubing and by 1983 the Supreme was built using Columbus SL tubing for 50-58 cm frames and SP for 60-64 cm.  All the early model Supreme frames were hand-brazed in Japan by Tsunoda.

The Supreme featured chrome head tube lugs and a chrome fork crown. Supreme models were equipped with top-of-the-line components, the 1980-83 models featured Shimano Dura Ace and the 1984 Supreme used Campagnolo Super Record. All of the Supreme models, like all the Lotus racing bikes, rode on tubular rims.

In 1984 Lotus offered two other Campagnolo equipped racing models, the Nuovo Record Competition and the Nuovo Gran Sport Legend Compe, all built in Japan.

Early Supreme models were available in Navy and Lotus Pink, the 1983-84 Supreme was only available in Violet, as shown in the photos on this page.

In 1985-87, Lotus offered the Design Cinelli Supreme, Cinelli Record, and Cinelli Triomphe, all-out Italian designed and Campagnolo equipped models, built by hand in Italy.

Bicycling Magazine May 1982 Lotus Supreme

1980-84 Lotus Supreme Fork Crowns
The above scan of the Lotus Supreme is from the May 1982 issue of Bicycling Magazine, Page 19.
 Note the Dura Ace EX equipment, stitched leather bar wrap, Primus pump and Kashimax suede saddle.  We think the LOTUS-branded water bottle did not make it's appearance until 1983.

"SEND $1 FOR COLOR CATALOG" 
 . . . . we'd like 12 please.
 

The collection of photos on the right shows the different fork crowns through the evolution of the  Supreme.

1980-82 models were made from Tange Champion tubing and had LOTUS engraved on the fork crown and chrome head lugs with diamond cut-outs.

1983 models used Columbus tubing and had a plain chrome fork crown, some models did not have diamond cut-outs on the chrome head lugs.

The 1984 Campagnolo Supreme also used Columbus tubing and returned to the engraved fork crown with a lotus flower and LOTUS lettering.  The diamond cut-outs on the chrome head lugs returned.

1983-84 fork crowns featured an attractive triangular cut-out on the side of the fork blade.  Also note in the photo below, the brazed-on fork stiffener on the inside of the fork blades. 
The detail photos of the 1984 Supreme bare frame on the right were submitted by James B. from Californina, the Violet paint is a circa 1983-84 color.  James mentions that while the frame itself has remnants of Columbus tubing decals, the fork steerer is stamped TANGE. 

This leads to the possibility that the entire fork assembly was made by Tange using Columbus fork blades, as Tange frequently supplied complete forks to frame manufacturers, like Tsunoda.

Serial #:         DS1583-
Top Tube:      58cm
Seat Tube:      61cm c-c
Rear Spacing: 127mm
Chainstays:     42cm to rear position
BB shell:         68mm
Rake:             45mm
Seat Angle:     72º
head angle:     73º

Click on small photo to enlage in the main window. 


The scan below is from the 1981 Lotus catalog.  The Supreme is shown in Lotus Pink with a grey Primus pump, brown suede Kashimax Super-Pro saddle and stitched leather bar wrap.  Note the lotus flower fork decals and Tange Champion seat tube decal.  The Supreme, Competition and Super Pro are the only three first-generation models to use the vertical LOTUS decal on the seat tube.  This would eventually carry over into later generations.

1981 Catalog Scan of the Lotus Supreme

Shown below is a 1983 Lotus Supreme in Violet, now featuring Columbus tubing. Note the original suede Kashimax Super-Pro saddle.  1983 Supreme models also came with laced-on leather bar wrap.  As is common with all the Lotus racing bicycles, the original tubular rims have been replaced with clinchers on this particular bicycle.

1983 Lotus Supreme in Violet

The 1984 Campagnolo Supreme shown below is a very original example of the model.  1984 Supreme frames can be identified by their Campagnolo rear dropouts.  It was common practice at the time to match the dropout with the derailleur manufacturer. The derailleur cable routing also moved to the top of the bottom bracket, earlier models featured under-the-bottom-bracket routing. The 1984 Supreme now used a Kashimax Aero leather saddle and Campagnolo Super Record component gruppo, other parts were made by Japanese manufacturers, possibly in order to offer a Campagnolo equipped bicycle at a competitive price.  The 1984 Supreme rode on Araya tubular rims, earlier models were Ukai.  

1984 Lotus Campagnolo Supreme

1980-82 Lotus Supreme
1983 Lotus Supreme

Frame Details Diamond bridge lugs, top tube cable guides, under the bottom bracket cable guides, brazed on bottle bosses, brazed on shifter bosses, brazed on front derailleur boss, extra long spoon seat stays at seat lug, 1/2 chrome chain stay, recessed brake bolts, chrome head lugs with diamond cut outs.
Frame Tubing 1980-82: Tange Champion Double Butted Cro-Mo 50-56 #1, 58-60 #2
1983: Columbus Double Butted Cro-Mo
50-56 SL, 58-64 SP 
Headset Shimano Dura Ace EX
Fork 1980-82:Tange Champion, Forged and Engraved Crome Crown, Fork Stiffeners
1983: Columbus, Forged Chrome Crown, Stiffeners
Handlebar 1980-82: SR World Custom w/ Laced on Leather Wrap
1983: SR World Champion w/ Laced on Leather Wrap 
Colors 1980-82: Navy and Lotus Pink
1983: Violet
Stem Dura Ace EX or SR Extra Super Light
Frame Sizes 1980-82: 50-60 cm
1983: 50-64 cm
Brakes Shimano Dura Ace EX
Crank Shimano Dura Ace EX Dyna Drive 42-52 Seatpost Shimano Dura Ace EX 
Pedals Shimano Dura Ace EX DD w/ Clips and Straps Saddle Kashimax Super-Pro, suede
Shift Levers Shimano Dura Ace EX on Down Tube Rims Ukai Tubular
Front Derailleur Shimano Dura Ace EX Hubs Shimano Dura Ace EX
Rear Derailleur Shimano Dura Ace EX Spokes
Freewheel Shimano Dura Ace EX 6-Speed 13-21 Gold Tires Soyo 240g Sew-Up
Chain Shimano Dura Ace EX Uniglide Gold/Black Weight 1980-82: 21 lbs
1983: 19.5 lbs
Notes
1984 Lotus Supreme

Frame Details Diamond bridge lugs, top tube cable guides, above the bottom bracket cable guides, brazed on bottle bosses, brazed on shifter bosses, brazed on front derailleur boss, extra long spoon seat stays at seat lug, 1/2 chrome chain stay, recessed brake bolts, chrome head lugs with diamond cut outs, Campagnolo forged rear dropouts. 
Frame Tubing Columbus Double Butted Cro-Mo,
 SL on 50-58 cm, SP on 60-64 cm
Headset Campagnolo Super Record
Fork Columbus Tubing, Forged Crown w/ Cut-Outs and LOTUS engraving, Reinforced Handlebar  SR
Colors Violet Stem  SR
Frame Sizes 50-64 cm Brakes Campagnolo Super Recordt
Crank Campagnolo Super Record 42-52 Seatpost Campagnolo Super Record
Pedals Campagnolo Superleggeri Saddle Kashimax Aero
Shift Levers Campagnolo Super Record Rims  Araya (?) Tubular
Front Derailleur Campagnolo Super Record Hubs Campagnolo Record
Rear Derailleur Campagnolo Super Record Spokes
Freewheel Suntour Tires Tubular
Chain Suntour Weight
Notes Specifications observed on multiple bicycles with the same equipment.
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